Nokia, Korea Telecom plan to demo 4G for machines, cars

The two companies will show a prototype for communicating with wearables, cars and smart meters

A slower but more frugal version of LTE that has been customized for the Internet of Things will be demoed at Mobile World Congress next month.

LTE was developed to provide high-speed transmission for smartphones and tablets, and has been a success in that regard. But with the growing popularity of connected wearables, smart meters and vehicles, the telecom industry has had to rethink LTE specifications to make it a better fit for related applications.

At Mobile World Congress, Nokia and KT (Korea Telecom) will demonstrate a prototype of a customized version, which has been dubbed LTE-M. The alterations include changes to increase battery life and decrease the cost of devices that use it. The latter is in part achieved by decreasing bandwidth, which means less expensive components can be used.

Changes in how devices talk to the network will help boost battery life to more than 10 years using two AA batteries, assuming it only has to talk with the network on rare occasions. The more a sensor has to talk to the network, the shorter the battery life becomes.

The Internet of Things will be one of the big topics at Mobile World Congress, with related networks, devices, management software and development tools on display. One of the common themes for all areas will be simplifying the process of connecting devices.

For example, operators Bell Canada, Deutsche Telekom, Orange, SoftBank, Telecom Italia Mobile and Telia Sonera will demonstrate how cross-border connectivity doesn't have to be complicated, they said on Wednesday.

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